A few years ago I rediscovered knitting, a skill I’d abandoned since first learning it as an 8-year-old from a friend of my parents. For about 18 months, as an avowed true believer, my inbox was full of patterns and my RSS feed alerted me to new comments on a knitters’ forum.
I learned a great deal, most of which had nothing at all to do with knitting but more about people and about life.
My intense desire to knit at every opportunity (lunchtime, while watching TV, while on a plane, in a hotel room on vacation or for work, or while at seminars or conferences) passed as quickly as it started and I haven’t picked up a pair of needles in about three years.
In the back of our home office/gym behind the treadmill, a 3-foot high wicker hamper full of yarn of every fiber and hue is sadly waiting to be remembered. Like Andy, the child who outgrew his toys in Toy Story, I’ve moved on.
You can’t knit daily for two years and not produce something. Baby blankets and hats, shawls, scarves, sweaters, fingerless mitts, and lap robes and hats for patients undergoing chemo were some of my creations. I knitted for charity and for friends, for family and for fun. I followed fads (hello, lace scarves) and followed my own path.
I don’t know where some of my creations ended up but this I do know: not a single one was perfect.
And that’s okay.
The members of my knitting forum were very supportive; their advice carried me then and still does now. A mistake isn’t an imperfection but a design element. Or it’s a lesson in humility (based on the legend that the Amish deliberately include a mistake in their quilts to remind them that only God is perfect).
These days I don’t knit, but some mornings I need to remind myself that nobody, especially me, is perfect. On those days I wear my “oops” earrings. Long story short, they are not exactly the same size, and that is by design. That is to remind me that I’m not perfect and that’s okay.
Imperfections are what make us us. Imperfections prove our humanity. They’re the clues in the scavenger hunt that direct us onward to the prize.
Don’t get hung up on the fact that you’re not perfect or that some else isn’t either.
But hey, this doesn’t mean you get to make the same mistake more than once. Like the single deliberate imperfection in that quilt, reflect on it for a moment and don’t make that same one again. Not in that quilt or knitted shawl, and not in life.
Accept that you’re not perfect but learn from the outcomes of your imperfection.